May 19, 2020

SOPA and PIPA Battle Rages on. What Now?

protests
PIPA
sopa
online piracy
Bizclik Editor
2 min
SOPA and PIPA Battle Rages on. What Now?

 

For the most part, everything on the Internet has resumed its normal course after Wednesday’s much-discussed online protest of SOPA and PIPA. The Google homepage logo is now fully visible, Reddit is back up and kicking and even Wikipedia has returned, with a thank you message that reads, in part:

“You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.”

According to nonprofit anti-SOPA/PIPA organization Fight for the Future, Wednesday’s strike resulted in:

-4,500,000 petition signatures

-Over 2,000,000 emails sent to Congress (through Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future and Demand Progress alone)

-75,000 websites on strike

-34 public statements from Senators denouncing PIPA

See Related Articles from Business Review USA:

PIPA and SOPA Co-Sponsors Use Facebook to Abandon Bills

While it’s clear that many people took to their keyboards to speak up against SOPA and PIPA, what’s next for the bills is a little more unclear, particularly because both bills are still in play.

Rep. Lamar Smith has vowed that the fight to pass SOPA is not over and that will continue markup in February. PIPA, which has not been publically dropped as dramatically as SOPA, heads to the Senate for a vote on January 24.

So although PIPA/SOPA opponents have reason to celebrate Wednesday’s progress, the battle is still raging.

Some have offered support for legislation introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who themselves oppose PIPA and SOPA and crafted the Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act, also known as the OPEN Act.

OPEN aims to cut off money to foreign piracy sites through the U.S. International Trade Commission, but PIPA and SOPA supporters say that this approach would not be as effective.

Fight for the Future urges people to continue fighting PIPA and SOPA by “calling your Senator every day next week” and visiting Senators’ district offices. The organization writes:

“What seemed like miles away a few weeks ago is now within reach.”

 

Understanding PIPA/SOPA and why you should be concerned:

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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